Virtual reality based mindfulness for chronic pain management: A scoping review

Siobhan O'Connor*, Alison Mayne, Beverley Hood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objectives: To identify and synthesize the scientific literature on virtual reality (VR)-based mindfulness applications for the management of chronic pain in adults.
Design: A scoping review methodology was followed and conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews guideline.
Data sources: Combinations of key words related to “virtual reality”, “mindfulness”, and “chronic pain” were searched for in PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, Scopus, and the Cochrane library databases. Title, abstracts, and full-text articles were screened against inclusion criteria.
Review/Analysis methods: Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis approach was used.
Results: Seven studies were included in the review and their findings synthesized into three overarching themes: (1) physical and mental health benefits; (2) treatment engagement and satisfaction; and (3) intervention usability. The last theme had four subthemes which were cybersickness, physical limitations, technical support, and personalized design.
Conclusions: While studies suggested VR could improve chronic pain management by enhancing the practice of mindfulness, weak study designs and small sample sizes limited the utility of the review results. Future research should rigorously co-design and test VR-based mindfulness applications with people with chronic pain to assess if they improve health and other outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-369
Number of pages11
JournalPain Management Nursing
Issue number3
Early online date28 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


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